Excerpt from ANIMAL KINGDOM #2 – “Transparent Artaud: 11 Notes on Cinema-Blood & the Mangled Bodies of Medievalism” by Christopher Schaeffer

“The times I most give a shit about Antonin Artaud are the handful of moments he’s onscreen in Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc. I think, here’s somebody who was born to be a monk. The movie is full of fat, loutish, warty supporting characters, and Dreyer’s eye makes them all look like sweating, rotting pumpkins. Artaud’s character– the monk Massieu– and Maria Falconetti’s Joan look like they’re filmed on a completely separate plane, immanent and exhausted at the venal, polyp-y travesties torturing their corporeal forms below. Artaud, insofar as he plays one of Joan’s persecutors, looks almost totally emaciated and overdrawn. There’s nothing left to him but a paper caul of skin over a freakish cinematographic light, a slight slackness in the jaw, a horrifyingly convincing look of hunger and the abnegation thereof shooting out from his weirdly cavernous eye-sockets.”

 

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